Review by Sapphire_Fate
"Color Me Impressed - Magnificence Defined"
There are games that only come along once in a PS2's lifetime. Games that truly change how we look and feel and play games that we once thought were tired, old, and in the coffin. Odin Sphere, published in the US by the grandiose Atlus, is one of those games. It is truly next-gen 2D, giving us the best 2D graphics ever done in a videogame. The gameplay is a mixture of a brawler with an RPG mixed with clever boss battles and gorgeously huge sprites.
As I've stated before, Odin Sphere is a beautiful game to look at and just a work of art. Every sprite is large, with extreme detail, enough to the point where they are almost life-like. Each character breathes and has multiple frames of animation. It also helps that the backdrops they are cast upon are simply stunning. From the moonlit, multi-color Ringford Gardens to the city of Nebulapolis, where beams of light circle and streak across the sky. There is enough detail in every world and map to put every 3D game to shame. Here, too, the world seems to breathe and move realistically. You could sit and watch the game for hours and still be blown away by the absolutely fantastic backgrounds.
Taken from Norse mythology, but given five different POVs, the game weaves a somewhat cliche but yet elegant plot over the course of the seven books. Without spoilers, let's just say there is a war between multiple races, where a prophecy states that the world will end very soon. These five characters are all tied into this prophecy, leading up to five epic battles to determine their fates.
A mixture of a brawler with simple sprinklings of an RPG is present in this title. Each level is a Sphere(hence the name Odin Sphere) in that it is a circular arena with variable depth, height, and width. You face enemies on these Spheres, and smack them around with various combos, be they aerial or ground. Each character has a unique attack usually done by holding the Square button at different points of a character's attack. Every character can also use Psypher, which is their weapon but also their magic power. Each character gets spells, with some unique ones thrown in, as they absorb Phozons, or enemy's souls. Another quirk is that your HP grows and also levels. This can be done by eating fruit that you grow through Phozons, or by visiting cafes and kitchens with the proper ingredients, paying them a certain amount of cash to give you huge boosts in levels. You can also use alchemy to create potions which can range from halving damage and preventing knockback, to giving you 50 gold.
Hitoshi Sakimoto is at his best here. FFXII was a mixture of boredom and Star Wars ripoffs, however Odin Sphere's soundtrack feels epic, to match the epic miniboss battles and boss battles. Also, every area has a unique battle theme, "safe haven" theme, and there is an omnipresent victory theme. While the soundtrack is a little short, I found myself constantly getting into miniboss battles thanks to the epic theme. It's definitely one of the better soundtracks out there, and far more impressive than most recent RPGs, including FFXII.
This game is definitely for the hardcore gamer, or even the casual gamer. It's a game that can wow people at first sight if given the chance. The stunning visuals, deep gameplay, beautiful soundtrack and elegant plotline will immerse gamers in a journey they will never forget.
Go buy this game now.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/14/07
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